It was one of the great comeback stories in sporting history but Robert Kubica’s return to Formula 1 is set to last just one season, with the Polish driver confirming that he will leave Williams at the end of 2019.
Kubica – who recently revealed that he had been set for a move to Ferrari in 2011 when he suffered a horrific rallying accident that derailed his career – created a sensation when he was confirmed alongside reigning F2 champion George Russell at Williams for 2019, having spent the previous year as the team’s reserve and development driver.
But with Williams currently struggling with poor performance, and Kubica having been out-qualified by Russell at each of the 14 rounds so far this year, the Polish driver confirmed in the press conference ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix that his fairy tale return with the team would conclude at the end of the season.
The announcement almost certainly spells the end of the Pole’s F1 career, which began midway through 2006 when he was drafted in as a replacement at BMW Sauber for Jacques Villeneuve, and which saw him claim a sole victory for the team at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, alongside 11 additional podiums for both BMW Sauber and Renault.
Kubica is now understood to be considering opportunities to race in other series, with Audi reportedly having held talks with the Pole about a move to DTM.
Meanwhile, Kubica’s departure will now incite a race for the second seat at Williams, with current F2 frontrunner and Williams test driver Nicholas Latifi thought to be the prime candidate – although Williams’ former driver Nico Hulkenberg is also still a free agent, having been released by Renault and with Haas confirming in Singapore that they would retain Romain Grosjean alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2020, having previously revealed that they’d been interested in potentially signing the German.